Summer is here and running tracks are popular again, which all too often leads to people suffering from injury problems in their legs, knees and feet. Does your heel hurt or does the bottom of your foot ache when you get out of bed in the morning? If so, you may be suffering from a heel spur. Heel spurs are a relatively common injury and there are several reasons that a heel spur might appear. Below we will explain the causes of heel spurs, how to treat heel spurs immediately and how to work preventively to prevent future problems.
Why does heel spur happen?
Heel spurs can be caused by a weak foot, excess load on the foot or too much running on hard surfaces. Foot pain is not uncommon in general, especially if you have a job where you stand for long periods or if you are active and exercise a lot. The symptoms of heel spurs and heel pain are similar, so don’t jump to conclusions about the diagnosis. A heel spur feels like pain underneath the foot, often closer to the heel, but is caused by inflammation after excessive load on the tissue. If you have heel pain or pain in your foot similar to the symptoms described above, it may well be an indication of an early stage heel spur that needs treatment.
Solutions heel spur
One way to treat heel spurs is through massage. Massaging the area can help both in the short and long term, as it can provide immediate pain relief and act as a preventative measure. A 2014 study showed that massage combined with stretching provided direct pain relief for the majority of subjects. Our Flowgun PRO is a perfect tool for using pinpoint massage to treat heel spurs by targeting the massage where the need is greatest. There are also exercises that strengthen the foot and help stabilise and counteract heel spurs.
Below, PT Martin shows how this can be done.
Other ways to prevent heel spurs are, of course, not to over-strain your feet – i.e. rest! If you are a runner, it may be a good idea to take an extra rest day and make sure you are kind to your body. Another tip is to vary the surfaces you run on, use tape or insoles. If you usually run on tarmac or gravel, try running in the woods on your next run. It may also be worth investing in good shoes to prevent heel spurs. For more tips on how to treat/avoid running injuries, click here.
At Flowlife, we always advocate a proactive and reactive approach to finding flow and feeling good. Even if you are not injured and in pain, we recommend that you always stretch, massage and build up your muscles to prepare your body for the challenges life throws at you. The important thing is to make sure your body feels good in general. We see massage, rest and proper stretching, supplemented with different forms of exercise as a good prescription. However, heel spurs that don’t heal or go away may need to be examined by a specialist.
Rehab and tips (Naprapath Filip Allerkrans, Authorised Naprapath 20200502)
The important thing to understand is that if you have a heel spur, it is because you are putting the wrong load on your foot – weak hip stabiliser, oblique load from the lumbar spine, etc. Doing exercises that help you strengthen these areas will help centre and normalise the load and then reduce the load that caused the spur in the first place.
Your heel pain can also be confused with plantar fasciitis, which is very similar to a heel spur. In this article you can read about the differences and get even more tips!
Tips: practice hip lifts, stabilise core/lumbar spine – plank. Always work with foot circles as they help ease your foot. Use tape for immediate relief.